I’ve Seen the Future


Over the last few days I’ve seen the future ….. and it’s very bright.

I’ve been part of a small group visiting churches in Indonesia to see how their partnership with Compassion is changing communities. I’ve seen the future in young mothers and their babies, in the faces of hundreds of children, and in the dreams and hopes of high achieving university students.

Today we met three outstanding young people from Compassion’s Leadership Development Program.

Selected child sponsorship graduates attend university and receive Christian leadership training through the Leadership Development Program, enabling them to realise their potential to become skilled professionals and Christian leaders who can bring change to their churches, communities and nations.

The Leadership Development Program facilitates the sponsorship of gifted graduates from our Child Sponsorship Program, giving them the opportunity to study at university and receive Christian leadership training. Each leadership student is selected according to strict criteria, including academic capabilities, leadership skills, Christian commitment and a willingness to serve others.

We met Aldo, Jeffrey and Lani.

Lani is 19. She grew up in poverty, beside a river, in the shadow of the homes of the rich. Living in those crowded conditions there was no hope that she would be anything but poor. That was until someone sponsored Lani and she was able to attend a Compassion project at her local church. She absolutely thrived and her consistently high grades gave her entry to the Leadership Development Program.

Lani doesn’t want to break free from poverty and become rich like those whose homes towered over her meagre dwelling.

Lani’s dream is to use the opportunity she’s been given to study pharmacy so that she can create breakthrough medication that will provide cures for diseases which are currently incurable.

Seventeen year old Aldo had a difficult childhood. There was trouble at home and he had no dreams for the future. Now in his second year of studying electrical engineering, he hopes to one day use his knowledge to improve access to electricity in poor areas. He also hopes to become a teacher so that he can help others from underdeveloped areas to gain an education and be able to dream of a better future.

Jeffrey has dreams too. Big dreams.

At just twenty years of age he is studying industrial engineering. He’s in his third year and he hopes to continue his studies at Oxford in the years to come. Once he has gained his education he wants to return to his home town and has dreams of becoming mayor. He wants to put his studies to use in improving local infrastructure and creating jobs.

All three of these inspiring young people have a couple of things in common. They’ve been released from poverty in Jesus’ name through Compassion and they are totally focussed on serving others.

They’re all planning on using their lives to make a difference for others. That’s a theme I’ve seen again and again over the past few days. Those who have been helped by Compassion keep spreading what they’ve received, multiplying the effectiveness of each program again and again.

Mums in the Child Survival Program are spreading their new knowledge of childcare, health, and nutrition throughout their communities.

The lessons that children in the Child Sponsorship Program are learning are shared with their parents and the wider community.

Leadership Development Program students are consistently returning to their own towns and villages to become leaders, pastors and influencers. Former Leadership Development Program students have even started making a difference for their countries by entering politics.

When you decide to sponsor a child through Compassion there is really no way of telling how many lives will be changed for the better. Communities, villages, towns, cities and countries are all starting to feel the influence of those who have been given the opportunity to dream and then been equipped to reach those dreams.

Please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion today and start to imagine how the future might look.

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7 Predictions for 2014


At the start of the year it’s a good time to look ahead and gaze into what the future may hold. Here are just seven of my predictions for 2014.

1. A former child star will go completely off the rails.

2. A much loved actor will pass away and they’ll receive tributes from across the world.

3. A political scandal will rock a major party.

4. Fuel prices will rise dramatically.

5. The CEO of a large company will receive a pay rise, the size of which will be more than most of us will make in a lifetime.

6. A well known sporting personality will test positive for performance enhancing drugs.

7. A celebrity couple will announce their separation and divorce.

So that’s what I’m predicting. What about you? Surely you can add a few. Just tell me some of your predictable predictions in the comments section of this post.

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An Amazing Back to the Future Moment

I love this video.

It’s a video that took over 20 years to make and it features 32 year old filmmaker Jeremiah McDonald and a 12 year old Jeremiah McDonald. It’s really a clever few minutes of the filmmaker talking to the younger version of himself via videotape. You can check out a few more details on the story at News.com.au

I’m a fair bit older than 32 but if I had the opportunity to talk to a 12 year old Rodney Olsen I wonder what advice I would give him. If I could go back to the mid-seventies and give my ‘young self’ some life advice, what would I say?

I think I’d tell him not to worry about the small stuff so much. I’d also tell him to cultivate a strong reading habit.

Some of my strongest advice would be in the area of faith. I’d recommend that he stay as close to God as he could and to learn how to lean on him through the good and the hard times.

I’d tell him to make the most of his relationship with his mother because he’d only have her around until his early twenties. (Thankfully I did have a great relationship with mum, but she still passed away far too soon.)

One of the things I’d be sure to say is to make sure you take lots of risks. Not reckless risks that would endanger him or others, but risks that ensure that he didn’t ever wonder ‘what would have happened if only ….’.

I’d tell him to treasure every relationship.

I’m sure that there would be plenty to tell that young boy. There are lessons that I’ve had to learn the hard way that would have been easier if someone had the right words to say back then.

Overall, I don’t have many regrets but I certainly wouldn’t want to go back and do it all over again. I’ve had a pretty good life so far and while it’s almost certain that I’ve passed the half way mark already, I still feel as if life is just beginning in some ways. I’m also finding that a lot of the advice that I would give that young boy is the kind of advice that I’m giving or need to give to the two young lives God has entrusted to me now.

If you could go back and give some advice to yourself when you were very young, what would you say?

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